Marriage Background

Given original sin, holding together in marriage one man and one woman until death do them part is no easy matter, yet that was God’s original design for human beings from the beginning of Creation, and such it remains. However, by the time He instituted through Moses the Old Testament Law, allowance then had to be made for some divorce, “because of the hardness of men’s hearts” (Mt. XIX, 7–8). But that was not how God meant marriage to be, and so when Our Divine Lord instituted the New Testament, on the one hand He abolished all divorce, while on the other hand He made Marriage into one of the seven special channels of sanctifying grace, one of the supernatural Sacraments, so that all souls entering His Church would have access to special supernatural help in the holding of their marriages together.

Nor are merely the man and woman involved in their marriage. The proper upbringing of children calls for both their (biological) father and their (biological) mother, and normally it requires that the two stay together to provide a complete and stable home. Moreover the health of society as a whole requires that healthy children be able to grow up into healthy adults. Thus if Christendom ever achieved unprecedented heights of civilisation, it was much due, if one thinks about it, to the strength of Catholic marriage. It would follow that the Devil is constantly attacking natural and Catholic marriage as a major means for him of breaking down Christendom and of sending all souls to Hell.

In our own time the breaking down of Christendom by the weakening of the Church took a huge step forward with Vatican II (1962–1965). Before that Council, Catholic marriage annulments were strictly regulated. They were not divorces, because it had to be proved in front of Church officials that for some serious reason the marriage contract had been invalid from the very beginning, so that a valid marriage had never taken place. But ever since the Council, that strictness has been making way for laxity, so that from exceptions annulments have now become in some countries the rule, i.e. “Catholic divorce.” Therefore when Archbishop Lefebvre founded his Society of St Pius X to resist the decadence let loose by Vatican II, naturally his Society shunned easy annulments and did all it could to help Catholic couples in today’s dissolvent society to forge a marriage which would hold together.

Alas, the successors of the Archbishop at the head of his Society have worked now for 20 years in disguised but tenacious fashion to join the Conciliar Church, by abandoning his resistance to Vatican II. This means that when three months ago the Conciliar Pope authorised Conciliar bishops to delegate their Conciliar priests to take an active part in marriages celebrated within the Society, then on the one hand Newsociety Headquarters greeted the decision as a great gift from Rome and announced that this papal decision would change the Society’s marriage practice, while on the other hand seven senior priests in the Society’s French District protested publicly against Rome’s Conciliar interference in Catholic practice. Headquarters promptly degraded all seven protesters and also dismissed the author of the protest.

Thus the war between liberalism and Catholicism rages on. Three of the seven protesters are reported to be standing their ground. In brief, as one of them has written, any Conciliar bishop can now send a priest to a Society marriage – and how can any such priest be sent back, after he has been so welcomed by Headquarters? Or the bishop can refuse a priest – but that is only a fortunate accident, leaving intact the dangerous principle of Conciliar interference. Or the bishop is allowed to delegate a Society priest – but that is liable to give rise in any Society Priory to marriages both Conciliar and non-Conciliar, with falsified, not to say, warring, relations between the two of them. Conciliarism and Catholicism can be neither mixed nor reconciled with one another.

Kyrie eleison.